The ACT Government’s Whole of Government Statement on Family Violence:
Family violence is a crime. There can often be a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour, where one family member seeks to exert and maintain power and control over others. Family violence is predominantly characterised by men using violence against women. As the ACT community confronts this challenge, it is critical that we recognise the gendered nature of family violence.
Family violence occurs when actual or threatened physical violence, including sexual violence, is used against a person. It also occurs when any family member uses violent and abusive behaviour to intimidate, frighten, harm, gain or maintain power and control over other family member/s. This can include emotional, verbal and psychological abuse such as threats to harm children, bullying, withholding and controlling finances, harassment, stalking, intimidation, isolating behaviours, damage to property, cruelty to pets, manipulation and coercion. Family violence is often hidden; behaviours which may appear minor or trivial in isolation, when viewed together can form a pattern of abuse and control.
Family violence can also involve:
- Dating partners
- Same-sex couples
- Women using violence
- Parents or step-parents
- Older family members
- Other family relationship combinations including extended family